Round And Round, Featuring What’s Next For Jean Pascal, Amir Khan, Marcos Maidana, Chris John And Others

Cats pretending to box, man. Gets me every time. Tip o’ the pen to friend of the site John M. Donnelly for the find.

Fights in the works, you say? We got all the people in the headline plus the latest for Juanma, Michael Katsidis and all your other faves.

Round And Round

From what I read, everybody was more interested in seeing Jean Pascal rematch with Bernard Hopkins rather than Chad Dawson. Not me! I want both rematches for the light heavyweight king, but I wanted to see Pascal-Dawson II first, since that controversial outcome came first chronologically. Whatever the case, we’re getting Pascal-Hopkins II first as part of an HBO double-header May 21 where Chad Dawson fights Librado Andrade, and those are two good fights, so I’m heppy. And if Dawson wins he gets the winner of Pascal-Hopkins II, so, hey, one way the other, the score will be settled for all involved.

Junior welterweight Amir Khan has finally got his biz settled for his next opponent on April 16, and its U.K. domestic foe Paul McCloskey. Probably wouldn’t be my fist choice, but not terrible. Meanwhile, Khan and Timothy Bradley are said to be negotiating quite amicably for a meeting after Khan-McCloskey, and that is terrific news. We’ll see if it doesn’t get derailed by Bradley’s upcoming free agency. On the undercard, Andre Berto and Victor Ortiz are still negotiating a catchweight below the welterweight limit, and there’s the usual handwringing about who ought to give in and why. It’s really simple: I don’t care. Agree to the weight or not. If it works for the other guy, they fight; if it doesn’t, they don’t. Nobody in that pairing “deserves” anything. Also, reportedly for reasons of cost, this one will be a split-site show on HBO with Khan-McCloskey on tape delay. If Berto-Ortiz isn’t in Cali, where Ortiz has a following, it won’t sell a ticket to a single living soul.

Howsabout this for a crappy, sad fight: Marcos Maidana is going to fight Erik Morales April 9 in place of Juan Manuel Marquez. If a younger version of Morales got knocked out by a junior lightweight Manny Pacquiao twice in a row, I don’t have any doubts about what a junior welterweight nuclear puncher like Maidana will do to him. And it’s on pay-per-view! Hooray.  (More on Marquez’ situation in Quick Jabs this week.) The kind of good news, but only kind of, since it makes me more likely to buy this stinker, is that lightweight must-see brawler Michael Katsidis is on the undercard. The plan is for him to fight Robert Guerrero, who is more skilled than Katsidis but lacks his consistent fire. That’s an interesting match-up.

I have no idea why featherweight Juan Manuel Lopez would be eating Yuriorkis Gamboa’s leftovers, but he is, fighting Orlando Salido, the man Gamboa beat in his last fight on April 16 on Showtime. Salido’s not bad or anything, but what gives? Especially since Top Rank’s Bob Arum said this week that the reason he’s not making Lopez-Gamboa yet is because not enough people are demanding it yet.  Like we’re demanding to see Lopez and Gamboa fight the guys the other one beat (cuz Gamboa did the same with Rogers Mtagwa after Mtagwa lost to Lopez). Even better: The date means HBO and Showtime will be going head-to-head. Boxing! It’s the bee’s knees!

The lil junior flyweights who gave us a Fight of the Year candidate last year, division champ Giovani Segura and Ivan Calderon, are now good to go for April 2. I don’t like Calderon’s chances, since he was old last year and is older this year, but rematches of quality bouts usually aren’t a bad thing.

Heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko has issued an ultimatum to David Haye: We fight July 2, or never. If that’s what it takes to make this melodrama end, fine.

Bantamweight Vic Darchinyan said a rematch has been ordered with Abner Mares by the WBC. OK. First, though, they gotta fight their Showtime bantamweight tourney opponents, Mares against Joeph Agbeko in the loser’s bracket and Darchinyan against Yonnhy Perez in the winner’s bracket. Those fights will go down April 23. And April is feeling pretty busy, I notice as I write all this. 

Featherweight Chris John is in line to fight Gamboa later this year, but in the meantime he’ll be taking on fellow Indonesian Daud Yordan April 17. That’s a bit more than a stay-busy fight, but it’s not the kind of fight that should threaten John-Gamboa.

Saul Alvarez’ bubba got beat last weekend by Austin Trout, so the junior middleweight wants to avenge his bro-bro Rigoberto. Not only does the fight make sense for viewers who value family, but it makes sense from the standpoint of career development for Alvarez; his next opponent, Matthew Hatton, is the best guy he will have faced, and Trout will arguably be a touch better — at least, he’s a fellow youngster, as opposed to some of the oldsters Saul has been fightin’.

John Murray was in the running to take on Khan at one point, but now there’ll be another all-Brit match-up with Kevin Mitchell, tentatively on April 2. I’m not as familiar with Murray’s work as I am Mitchell’s, but that is a lightweight match-up that at least ought to sell a few tickets in Jolly Ol’.

Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam will take all his apostrophe N’s (hey, there was another one!) into a middleweight bout with Giovanni Lorenzo April 2. It’s kind of a fringe fight in the division, but worth mentioning.

Also, with Brian/Bryan Vera reviving his career yet again with that win over Sergio Mora last weekend, he could be rematching with Andy Lee should Lee win his upcoming bout. That was a really serious scrap and it would be again, even if Lee fought more wisely this time, because Vera makes good fights with anyone. He made a good fight with Mora, for crissakes.

It was too good to be true, Fight Night Club. The junior welterweight bout between Jesse Vargas and Lanard Lane is off, with Lane out and Jose Armando Santa Cruz in for the Feb. 24 headiner. You can make the argument that a blown-up Santa Cruz is still the toughest opponent of Vargas’ career, but Vargas-Lane was better. Not a disaster, but a loss.

Even though nobody thought he looked like he was worth a damn in his last fight, cruiserweight Lateef Kayode is somehow in trash-talking wars with THREE different cruisers: Marco Huck, B.J. Flores and Ryan Coyne. As said trash talking has not been very amusing, this is an entirely worthless trash-talking war — it lacks significance and panache alike.

If Ricardo Mayorga somehow beats Miguel Cotto in their upcoming junior middleweight fight, the plan is to match him with Cotto’s next anticipated opponent, Antonio Margarito. Rarely do you get villain vs. villain match-ups of that villainiciousness.

No, Israel Vazquez. Put away those ambitions of fighting again, the ones you’ve been talking about lately. You can only do harm to yourself and there definitely won’t be any glory to make it all worthwhile, the way it was earlier in your career.

(Round and Round sources: BoxingScene; Fightnews; ESPN; Maxboxing; Fanhouse)

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board ( He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.

Round And Round, Featuring Drama At Bantamweight, Featherweight, Heavyweight And More

Yesterday, I visited Goochland, Va. It’s named after Sir William Gooch, a contrast I enjoy — the dignity of “Sir William” and the 7th grade nickname quality of “Gooch.” I attended a high school graduation where the class of 2010 totaled two people. (The class of 2012 will be half that.) It was a Christian school, so after we pledged allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, we pledged allegiance to the Christian flag, then the Bible. Before the speeches began, we heard songs about Jesus, and about hunting. I learned a lot about the school during the ceremony — that a student brought an animal he shot to dissect in science class, and that there were formal debates about the Civil War in English class, and the student asked to defend the North was bitter about it.

I say none of this to poke fun. The ceremony was frequently touching, and I was quite proud of my dear cousin on her graduation day. But it’s a different world than D.C., and I had to share it with someone, in case it might be as eye-opening and informative to you as it was to me.

Nor does this have anything to do with boxing. The rest of this column does.

Round And Round

The “gag order” on Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao didn’t last long. Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum couldn’t resist a little posturing when he noted that the previous hurdle for making the welterweight megafight, Mayweather’s demand that Pacquiao undergo blood tests for performance-enhancing drugs up to 14 days before the bout, had been crossed. Arum said more, too. Pacquiao himself has been talking some smack, and his team keeps saying that if Mayweather wants better than a 50-50 split, the fight will never happen. If the idea was to keep egos from flaring in advance of negotiations, mission not accomplished – although Arum, when last asked, offered a no comment, so maybe he’s back on message. This will not last. The “gag order” survived 10 days before Arum broke it. (Then, incredibly, he lectured Pacquiao’s team members for talking about the negotiations, per BoxingScene. I guess they don’t teach logic at Harvard Law School.)

Featherweight Yuriorkis Gamboa, as we mentioned earlier this week, will not be fighting Celestino Caballero. From all the reports, it sounds like Gamboa’s team is more to blame than Caballero’s. You know what’s interesting about this? It was so ballsy for Gamboa to wanting to fight Caballero to begin with, but now he comes off looking a bit more cowardly than if he had never mentioned the guy’s name. The likely replacement for Gamboa is Elio Rojas, a good fight for Gamboa nonetheless. Meanwhile, Arum wants Juan Manuel Lopez to fight Rafael Marquez before the end of the year, but Marquez promoter Gary Shaw has other plans that feature putting Marquez and Vic Darchinyan on a doubleheader in September on Showtime, with the idea being to match those two later.

When Jorge Arce suffered a cut in sparring, he triggered a little bantamweight feeding frenzy to replace him as Eric Morel’s opponent on June 26, and a few ripples in the division. Nonito Donaire offered his services, and so did Michael Domingo. Morel reportedly declined both, saying he wanted to fight Arce when he got better. Donaire did some turning down of his own, saying he didn’t want to fight Hernan Marquez on July 10 on Showtime, because Marquez just lost to some Filipino prospect, so what does that prove? Good point. Maybe Donaire is wising up to the fact that his promoter, Arum, is going to milk him endlessly against crappy opponents unless he stands up to him. Fernando Montiel did the same thing when he flew to Japan to fight Hozumi Hasegawa against Arum’s wishes. Who’s Arum talking about Montiel fighting next? Donaire or Darchinyan, the latter of whom Arum couldn’t come to an agreement for a fight with Donaire. There’s absolutely no reason Donaire-Montiel shouldn’t be a fairly automatic fight to make. Arum is maddening.

Heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko has turned down Alexander Povetkin’s demand that he take Olympic-style drug tests in the lead-up to their fight. Klitschko said there’s already drug testing required, and there’s been no problem with drug testing regimes under which he’s come up clean. This more advanced drug-testing thing – it’s got some good aspects, but it’s also the case that it stands a risk of becoming a frequent hurdle for making fights. I want the sport to be clean, but I’m not sure I want the ultra-highest level of drug testing if it means more fight negotiations collapsing. It also leads to another level of impossible posturing; the person who asks for the testing gets to say he just wants to clean up the sport, while the person turning it down gets to say the other guy is trying to find a way out of the fight. That’s what Klitschko is saying here. As for Klitschko-David Haye — Haye has turned his attention to Audley Harrison, a fight that will probably make some cash in the U.K. but I expect would be a total mismatch.

Junior welterweight Amir Khan’s next fight might be against Joel Casamayor, according to his promoter, Golden Boy. Michael Katsidis is still in the running according to his promoter, but it’s gotten confusing. Katsidis’ team was making threats about how he would knock out Khan, and that same team said Khan doesn’t want the fight. Also, it’s unclear that Katsidis has changed his mind about wanting to wait for the winner of Juan Manuel Marquez-Juan Diaz II at lightweight.

Junior featherweight Guillermo Rigondeaux is a sure thing talentwise, but he’s got some serious drama outside the ring, with his manager and promoter feuding and his departure from trainer Freddie Roach. But once it gets settled, the reported plan is to fight Reynaldo Lopez, then see about getting in line for an interim title shot against Ricardo Cordoba. I’d love to see Rigondeaux-Cordoba.

When Zab Judah returns July 15 on Friday Night Fights, his likely opponent will be Jose Armando Santa Cruz, at 142 or 143 pounds. Judah says he wants to fight at junior welterweight, but he keeps not fighting at junior welterweight. Judah says he wants a big money fight, but he keeps taking fights for peanuts. His new promoter is Main Events. Maybe they can teach him how money works.

Paulie Malignaggi says he’s going to move to welterweight. OK; that won’t keep him from becoming an “opponent,” (his fear at junior welterweight) by itself, unless he somehow lines up a fight with titlist Jan Zaveck or something. But he also says he’s going to fight in Italy. Well, he could dominate there, cuz they don’t have a boxing scene. Something about a brash New York Italian kid heading back to his roots… is Paulie modeling himself after Michael Corleone?


(Round and Round sources: The Sweet Science; BoxingScene; ESPN)

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board ( He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.